The Fulcrum of Fall

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

11.2.13 (George Estreich)

One of the dates everyone had circled before Fall Tour started was October 23, Phish’s return to Glens Falls Civic Center. The intimate venue in the small New York town had played host to only one Phish show before and it was one of legend. This would be the second. Close to Burlington, Vermont, Glens Falls would also be the “friends and family” show of Fall Tour—an event that often comes with added demands and pressures on the band. Atop all that, after a torrid Hampton weekend, Phish showed signs of fatigue in Rochester the previous night, dropping the ball in their shakiest performance of the year. These multiple variables had their long-awaited return to Glens Falls up in the air.

A fierce opening set seemed to set the arrow straight for the band, but it was the second set’s more creative endeavors that had given them problems in Western New York. The vibe inside the Civic Center was electric from note one, and it certainly felt like Phish could ride this energy to victory, but the truth would be told after setbreak.

10.19.13 (A. Nusinov)

10.19.13 (A.Nusinov)

In each of the first four shows, the band had opened the second set with a significant piece of improvisation, thus when they kicked down the doors of Glen Falls’ main event with “Rock and Roll,” fans strapped on their seat belts for a long-form ride. It felt like the guys had something going when Fish dropped the rock jam into half-time, but not long after the tempo slowed, they wound down into a quasi-natural ending with no real ground covered.

Very rarely does Phish start a second set with two jam vehicles without taking one of them for a ride, thus when “Seven Below” started, it seemed that the post-hiatus tune would provide our adventure of the night. Perhaps a bit hesitant from the fact that “Rock and Roll” didn’t get anywhere, the band didn’t try to bring “Seven Below” outside the box, favoring a contained and very fiery exchange. The band wove a good amount of creative playing into this anchored rendition, building back their improvisational confidence that they had lost over the past night plus a jam. And upon “Seven Below’s” conclusion, Phish crept into “Twist.”

As soon “Twist’s” first notes whispered into the arena, one knew that here would lie our gem. Phish had opened Hampton’s first second set with “Twist,” and with it sculpted a Pink Floyd-laced ambient soundscape—a clear sign of intent to resuscitate the song’s creative edge. This Glens Falls version would not only help that cause, it would become the pivot point of Fall Tour.

11.1.13 (A.Nusinov)

11.1.13 (A.Nusinov)

This time around, Phish built right out of the song’s Santana-esque jam instead of bringing the lyrics back and launching off a second jam a la Hampton. Trey accelerated the pace of this “Twist” early on and Page stuck right with him, as the band’s jamming sounded far more locked than at any point since Hampton. Minutes later, Trey and Page led a break from form, and once Fish and Mike switched up the rhythm, Phish shot into the stratosphere with a high-octane and quite atypical, mid-jam climax. And as quiet dreamscape emerged out of this peak, “Twist” oozed into its most transcendent section.

Atop atmospheric textures, Trey began playing a heart-tugging melody—a week later discovered to be from “The Line”—that came to define the final portion of the jam. As the rest of the band carefully constructed their offerings around Trey’s melody, a breathtaking exchange blossomed. Building off this thematic sequence with layers of ambient effects, the guys took their time to descend from a truly blissed out trip.

To close this set, Phish absolutely slayed an old-school version of “Harry Hood,” a piece that, unquestionably, continued the band’s now-righted improvisational path. As “Hood’s” blistering peak brought the tour’s smallest crowd to it’ highest high of the night, Phish had made it through their slight stumble and came out of Glens Fall’s with a rocket strapped to their back heading for New England. After the subsequent weekend, with only Reading and Atlantic City to go, it became very clear that Phish wouldn’t falter again. And when looking back over tour’s first week, there was no doubt that things had shifted for keeps with the Glens Fall’s “Twist.”

Boardwalk Hall (George Estreich)

Boardwalk Hall (George Estreich)


Winged-music-noteJam of the Day:

Twist” 10.23 II, Glens Falls, NY

Fall Tour’s point of solidification.

[audio:] Tags: , , ,

212 Responses to “The Fulcrum of Fall”

  1. Whale returns Says:

    Btw there should be huge expectations for this run. Playing together for weeks at a time. gonna be their best playing in all of 3.0

  2. MiA Says:

    Lol Snow.

  3. Dorn76 Says:

    No TAB for the Northeast, I was crushed. But Arcade Fire dates saved the day.

    That and the slim ticketmaster envelope on the kitchen table with my 12/29 Deep Banana Blackout tix. Score.

  4. Jerome Garcia Says:

    I knew God Made You Funky dorn

  5. Jerome Garcia Says:

    Tahweez is quite the musical movement passing through several distinct soundscapes. Dicks Dust to juxtapose.

  6. Dorn76 Says:

    Wait these are “Phish” tickets??!

    Shit they better not play any of that new adult contempo shit.

    Gimme the honky funk.

  7. DavidSilver Says:

    Can’t wait to hear the newest version of Let Me Lie on Wingsuit.

  8. snow Says:

    @David- I hear they are really going to slow it down finally. Exact same song but 20 minutes long. Amazing really.

    I just remembered that I won best t-shirt for my Steve Zissou shirt from a random dude walking the floor at Hampton. The only prize was his respect and admiration (i’m assuming cause he just said I had the best shirt).

    Anyway, if you are out there random guy from Hampton, I just wanted to let you know how much it meant to me… not much. Maybe have a prize next time if you are going to have contest?

  9. snow Says:

    big day coming up Vapebraham…–tms–takekidstp–f-a20131114-20131114,0,745560.story

    IPAs and vapes to celebrate?

  10. Whale Returns Says:

    david silver….that is the best comment ever posted on here.

    LET ME LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Ulysses S. Wingsuit Says:

    Just noticed that the chord changes during the chorus of What Makes a Good Man? by The Heavy are closer to Tweezer Reprise than 555 is.

  12. P.S.H.S Says:

    Wookey jack is delicious.

  13. DavidSilver Says:

    Cool shirts for you Cliff Clavins of the world.

  14. P.S.H.S Says:

    Today marks my 32nd trip around the sun. I’ll be in bed by 9:30.

  15. DavidSilver Says:

    Whoa, ride it slowly there whale. Stick around and that comment will be bested shortly. Meanwhile, I think I’ll take my shirt off. Maybe feel it burn.

  16. garretcorncob Says:

    Just careful you don’t take a spill there, David Spillver

  17. Mr. Palmer Says:

    GC- i know you have sprinkled some of your Fall phishthoughts on here already..

    What are your favorites? shows? Jams? Sets? We’ve all beaten each other over the heads with our opinions. It’s refreshing to hear someone new, fresh off spinnage..

  18. snow Says:

    yeah, xactly palmer, who’s side are you on anyway GC?

  19. snow Says:

    ahemmm… I mean, I’m curious too.

  20. Ulysses S. Wingsuit Says:

    Facking coworker taps me on the shoulder and makes me take off my headphones during GF Twist because he can’t look up which NFL teams are playing tonight on his own. YOU WILL PAY

  21. joe Says:

    my lady just sent me this. not sure when she’s looking at the phunion, she’s barely a fan these days. anyway, I think she thought she was being funny and making fun of me (us, or the collective you who she refers to as Ocelot69)

  22. snow Says:

    And we be takin care of business!!!


  23. joe Says:

    the world is waiting Garret

  24. IrieWalton Says:

    Whatup BB Massive!

    Hope all’s well. Been crazy busy lately, but I’m taking the time to spin set II of Niagara nice and proper. Just getting into the Split-$$$. Dark, distorted, and frenetic just how I like em. My first shows as 12/1/95 and his style of playing is taking me right back to the wormhole.

    Gotta keep moving though as my sister is being flown into portlandia, tonight, from DC for a final round interview at one of the larger enviro NGOs on Monday. Her and her guy, both longtime fans, have been trying to relocate out here for a few years with the guy having landed a jobs two moths ago, he’s been living with us, and now hopefully the sis will land this gig and the relocation will be completed. Positive thoughts for them are definitely welcomed and appreciated!

    Man, this Split just gets nastier and nastier.

    Love it!

  25. garretcorncob Says:

    Well, Palmer, let’s see…

    Cavern could use a rest. The first set still needs some loving, although the AC Theme is a good sign of things to come. Also, that Theme is a microcosm of all the other great trends from fall tour. Firstly, Trey playing rhythm. So glad that trend carried over from summer. Love that he’s laying down grooves, and love that he’s using the wah. The wah because of the added texture, the rhythm because it’s been way overdue with Mike’s renaissance from ’10 on and Page stepping his shit up this year. Also, jams from unexpected places. Love Twist going big. Love a huge Drowned, which suffered a cruel banishment after showing up way too much ’09-’10. Also, they’re having fun again. Shaft quotes, silly Under Pressure jams.

    I don’t think I have a favorite jam yet. All the Tweezers stood out. I just respun the Reading DWD, which didn’t feel like 20 minutes, but was a very pleasant listen.

    Oh, and Miner didn’t think much of it I guess, but I thought the Golden Age over the Light jam was a tour highlight. That’s some fresh Phish right there. When’s the last time something like that happened?

    Wingsuit was a blast. Only song I didn’t like was Wombat, which doesn’t quite redeem some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard with it’s fairly solid groove. I’m particularly enthusiastic about the fact that none of the songs are straightforward bluesy rockers, which I only realized while listening Wingsuit, is what makes up like, half of Joy. Seriously: Ocelot, Alaska, KDF, STFTFP…

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